Friday, December 14, 2012

OXBASKETING

the white oxen in the shallows
are blindhoofed
wreaking subficial violences on
the pomegranate espaliers
which undersleep your cherished summers.

the summer wethers prance
an unsudden unwickering
of sodden osiers
a countercleftpoint
of diffusion.

spayed bitch casts her bait
and germinates unangelled in oily solitudes
while rosy dangling boy-heels beat
a garden's pulse against the quay.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

THE UNFULL FILLED

and if it hangs in loxton like it hangs
in stellenbosch, this unfull moon, this old
obscurer, then may they afflict (these pangs
of wholeness) you. and you, as me, enfold.

Monday, April 26, 2010

NEAP

if fathers were so armed
she would be striding into the breakers
as into her father's arms.

this is a mere sea,
this a walk to its own end.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

MORE THAN "MORE THAN HORSES"

every horse (as symbol) ought to crest
its summer hill, and every field must be
run through with shares. the belly swells, the breast
will soften, but no shade evades its tree.

GARAGISTE (2)

... which is to say that for all the density of my teaspooned words, for all that the nothing was curved precipitously to your void, that god's trigger-finger had been ripped from the hard hand which feeds, that the resilient vacancy of your centre was bound more tenuously than language between the molecules of the word spleen, which is to speak by halves of your holeness, for all my spat polish and my tuesday suit, I was the inept shoe directed vaguely at a cold hearth. I was a needle taken up against the fire.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

GOOD MORNING ANDALUCIA HOW ARE YOU

campbell's sleeping, rabie's tending goats.
old man krige's trolling lorca's cock
as hemingway, to thompson's chagrin, gloats...
while nel goes netherlanding
(and leaves the last train standing)
I am left to watch the woodstock clock.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

NEC IUSTUS NEC PECCATOR

when that salt life or this, insipid, ends,
when ordinary ruth has been deployed
and while the tame dogs dice for dividends,
some corner drunk will slur into the void:

he was, like me, an old habitué
who loved, and tired of, the red café.

Friday, December 11, 2009

exercise 3.4.4: kitchen jigging for the tame and carbon-neutral

hard shoes for strangers and swift blades for friends:
kosher betrayals while industry ends
at a danish meridian drawn on the sea
where the last crippled man fells the last standing tree.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

BUT GODS KNOW

but gods know
when you bared your forearm
and bastions fell
an architect began to dream
a man-high tower.

THE COMMUNE AT THE END OF THE SELF

... which was so resilient an hour ago,
which insinuated itself into my voids
and constructed there,
of the nothing,
houses-for-grandchildren
and wooden-legged bunnies close-held
to the chest

... which made of the silences
between our words
something lighter than air,
than having to be.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

NOBLE LATE HARVEST

the vine is stripped, the summer's sugars rot
in well-lit sheds: jan boland throws the latch.
sad mothers, where their dull-eyed children squat
in private, fumble with the autumn match.

RUE GIT-LE-COEUR

his hard opinion finds himself amended
(he was no saint for sure whose bowel
has been evacuated here). thus ended
this his quest, his faithlessness defended,
he trades his english beef for free french fowl.

Friday, June 12, 2009

090612. thirtydawn

some bastard's gone and scrawled across her spleen
the slogan "HOPE": a vicious cri-de-guerre.
she's half a life away from where she's been
or else, by some accounts, she's halfway there.

Monday, May 18, 2009

PHOTOJOURNALIST (1)

he is hard as headlines.
she shoots him still and climbs the threads of his eyes,
unravelling him into the void of the night.

Friday, April 17, 2009

FORTY (3)

seen a man standin' over a dead dog by the highway in a ditch.
he's lookin' down kinda puzzled, pokin' that dog with a stick.
got his car door flung open, he's standin' out on highway 31
like if he stood there long enough that dog'd get up and run...

[bruce springsteen, "reason to believe"
from "nebraska", 1982]

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

FORTY (2)

once he reached for something golden hanging from a tree
but his hand came down empty...


[carole king, "tapestry"]

Sunday, April 5, 2009

FORTY

he never had to pass this station, wave
in sad acknowledgement of absent choirs
lining bleak unbusy platforms... save
your laurels: this gift too, today, expires.

Friday, March 13, 2009

GARAGISTE (1)

the wives have claimed the kitchens, commandeered
the cockpits (not their oumas' oubliettes)...
this thirteen spanner and this greying beard
must muscle what the married mind forgets.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

NEXT TO GODLY

how well you've polished out your body's soil
and combed your teeth of every fecund word.
see! hermes's squeaky loam-shy heel is (if not
wholly resurrected) disinterred...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MR BASSON'S DEATH IS DEFERRED

the rose is uncorrupted, and the greying
lung is harbour to no treason. chance
be praised for arbitrarily delaying
raw inevitable circumstance.

QUEER POLITICS

as if the broken bread of galicia
would be unbroken here. asof die skewe
been die pad sou regtrap. he would be a
ginsberg of the heerengracht... sy lewe,

weg en waarheid stol, and he appeases
tame incubi, this straightup square queer jesus.

Friday, January 16, 2009

THIS IS THE LIGHT HE TURNS FROM

this is the light he turns from, which insists
that every great-and-small should integrate
and specify itself... he unenlists,
an evolutionary apostate.

unbind the protein-chain,
suppress the algal bloom,
restore his early void,
his unbred gloom.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

HET TOE TE PASSEN SYSTEEM VOOR DE FUNDEERING WORDT IN DE EERSTE PLAATS BEPAALD IN VERBAND MET DEN UITSLAG VAN HET GRONDONDERZOEK. (1)

[for claire]

she hasn't asked for easy anchors, pins
dropped from the gunwales of her womb to grasp
homesoil, its thyme- and tidemarks on her shins,
the staple's quick conjunction with the hasp.

she charts her course by no-one's reassuring
and when she docks she'll be herself her mooring.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

081209: stellenbosch

these oaks were never sacred. and the young
summer legs of women, and their com-
and elsewise pliant berries, always hung
beyond the grasp of tantalus... and from

these mountains' clefts, of course, there never sprung
the stream which dulls the blade and whets the tongue.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

081106

her halfvoice calls. the dissonance of certain
ears is tuned to just such ciphers: howl!
and, howling still, bring down (arse-first) your curtain...
assimilate, for fairness's sake, the foul.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

GET BEHIND THE MULE

pin your ear to the wisdom post
pin your eye to the line
never let the weeds get higher than the garden
always keep a sapphire in your mind
always keep a diamond in your mind

[tom waits, "get behind the mule"
from "mule variations", 1999]

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

TWO LA CHAIMS FOR A SODDEN EID

1.
the holy drinker cracks his third for auld
lang syne, and crackling for his rosh hashanah.

2.
let boland raingods piss on this his cold
and unmooned mecca, let medina call.
he'll slit his styx-dipped tendons just to fall
on trojan soil: tonight he is no runner.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

acrostic exercise 2.5.6: rachel, fifteen

risk every notion which your catalogue
accumulates: allow fit lambs their legs.
contest the unexamined truth, first dog
his heels who claims your bent knee, or who begs…

endure the small weight of an empty sky.
live this your life, with your own heart comply.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

HAIKU FOR HILTON

this morning i woke
the red moon was slightly full
going, i will stay

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

TENDERFOOL

[for claire]

wise women shrink back meekly when the bill
presented them exceeds their honour's scope.
tender, fool, your coin (untenable):
the indefatigable curse of hope.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

T MINUS FOUR

the first glint, always, is alluvial.
the camera pans his rivered bed, it gleams
the fool's gleam... mahmet's mountain moves: he will
be driving piles into the darker seams.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

UNKNOXING

none have i corrupted, none defrauded;
merchandise have i not made
. i've spurned,
to glimmer in his heaven, all things sordid
lest (his saints forbid!) i should have burned.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

THE GREY AND DAY-LONG MYTH OF MORNING

the grey and day-long myth of morning, keeping
faith with every other vague prognosis,
suppresses thought and elevates the sleeping:
a godless, sterile, clean apotheosis.

Monday, August 11, 2008

acrostic exercise 2t.5/5/2.3: chloe rose, thirteen

clocks and calendars - machines which capture
hours, and cages for our bird-free days -
let these slip by

(overlook, in their precision's rapture):
every unguessed laugh, spontaneous phrase,
resistant cry...

once you've found your own path and you've mapped your
self's course, freed from time's and custom's ways,
expect to fly...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

COGITO, ERGO ABSUM

he is the exile-king of undefined
space. undisputed sovereign of the pith,
he abdicates the fruit and spurns the rind,
this fact-shy felon, master of the myth.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

WHEN I CONSIDER

the clarity he woke to spans the west,
a low midmorning cloud obscures the bay
uncommonly, and threatens to ingest
his light. he sees he'll labour through this day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

THOUGHTHAWK

[for claire]

she's learned the winds in order to betray
the winds. today she drifts less frugally,
this unknoxed, disencalvined, no-god's-prey
whose spirals widen centrifugally...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

AND SO BEGAN

and so began the rest of his life. here was the coffee-shop table, wristwatch, two measured spoons of sugar and-a-bit-for-the-spirits, broadsheet crossword with the old unsolved seventeen blank blocks: the appurtenances of an older man... breakfast in observatory. four-seater, void of finger-wagging gods, un-get-thee-hence-boyed, small beneath my sight, and a slice of urban roadway which you know begins dead and ends dead and entertains angels between with the old the ancient threats and the uncommon blessings and so began the next of his life observing angels and no angels and the shit of observatory dogs softly softly moleculing away down black sidewalks westward blackriverwards under april showers sooted black to the looned river the full-mooned the ultimate dumb bay drubbed guguletu-sooty-black… newly-coated saint-patron of the peri-urban slice through which pass but once the no-good do-good any-good-therefore-that-i-can-do prophets of prosperity and indolence, the negligéed and the negligent, weird bearded queer seared holed-soled scrabblers for the colonel's secret wingspan's radius the sacred ulna the four-leafed unbroken breastbone of the groundbound trill-streeted orthogonal each-man-in-the-cell-of-himself free range fowl among eagles wheezing stealth-machines through blistered stratospheres… get thee hence, boy, and snag thou eagles for thy trophy-room. snare thou eagles and angels and fairies and tooth-winged mice for thy specimen-cabinet and all manner of wingèd thing and every any beautiful beast hovering sootily over the dark hearth of this your day. be thou. be thou the air about them. be thou, cloaked in its smoggy lining's stealth, the hound of these heavens, sound thou the horn of the heavens' beasts' hound, the leavened breast's unbroken groundbound horn's sound… and so was a beginning, newly-cloaked in the forbidden alternative, newly-armed... in your left hand a neither, in your right the nor… don thou the eagle's harness, boy, and feather your fingers into the tree-rat's sign. resist, new-plumed, the cigaretting of the sun and the winestaining sea.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

TOO LATE

and will he buy her urbane optimisms
while the street sells uncut uncouth hope?
has he not traversed the real schisms:
breast and bottle, crow and phalarope?...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

ii

one garden for strong men
or two pretty thursdays free
to be remote...

i

civil days,
unfurnished or not:
long july entertainment
from kitchen to bachelor bed

Friday, June 20, 2008

308

three hundred and eight words for the son of thunder. and when, upon st catherine's heath, do we dare meet again? on anne's, or emily's, or fleance's waxwinged, charlotte's harried, web?... but wait! flies lindbergh through the eastering sun, or snag his healing righteous wings on crosswinds breathed by mountains in the night?... yes, wait, for eight-and-hundreds-three of words do no da vinci make. nor he, unmade, his ornithopter cause to sail black-rigged, cliff-clear, heath-hovering through a kittyhawk dawn bronze-fleeced and dry while roundabout-and-not-a-drop-to-drink affianceds fly and barrel-rolling banquo's boldly bank… hail to thee, and every glamorous cloudburst be upon your unumbrellaed cinderellaed jack-o-lantern. damned be him and damned be he: may sons of thunder blessèd be? accused, arraigned, condemned those are who spurn the rock to kiss the star and hail and hail and hail to thee, appropriating destiny. in thunder, lightning, reign you still, pandemonic gristle-mill… but, barber-basined knight erroneous, keep the vigil, burn your books: don quixotic cardbox vestments against these post-socratic crooks… and reign and reign and reign thou meekly ever, sweet heir of dulcinean weather…

SO THIS IS WHERE THEY ROOST?

so this is where they roost? between the pages
of our m'aidezs and our cold july,
in the unyoung plumage of their ungreyed ages:
anni nostri sapientiae.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

HER RED-FLUSHED FLIGHT

[for isebeau, 17 june 08]

no god distributes party favours at
her thirtysomethingth, poets only write
their frailties. all there is is chance, and that
endows the lizard with the knack of flight.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

ALLE GODEN ZIJN MIJN BONDGENOTEN

another cannon-cart, another dirge:
jij weet misschien niet eens ik zing voor jou.
another vincent fallen at the verge
of daylight. let the paparazzi know

but keep unlit, until we've rid the rye-
stalks of our stalker (one more thaler tagged
for one more dismal day), the salesman's eye...
give theo what is his. this body's bagged.

Friday, May 30, 2008

AND FROM THE WEST

the weather and your plane are coming in:
the coucal murmurs of your e.t.a.
at ten to six. the breaking of my drought
is fifteen minutes and two k's away.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

UNDERFOOTING LEYTONSTONE

[for anna]

she overshoots victoria and misses
her hotel, takes fright at joburg dangers
in the ochre streets of leytonstone.

this london's midnight ebb-tide strands her (this is
not quite kansas): seven million strangers
here, and she is perfectly alone.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

exercise 2.5.6: mirrorman

[for francois wherever he is,
the original mirrorman]


this silvering of beards, these graded, guilt-edged
archaeologies of self, re-readings
of our texts of love and vague displeasure:

the mirrored man, confronted with his silt-dredged
simulacrum, shrugs, the sins conceding
of which he alone can be the measure.

THREE IMPOSSIBLE TRUTHS

[for francois]

a body is a flower
but for the looking alone
another man's table
another man's vase

a word is a fish
and the weave of one man's basket
leaves another's gills gasping
another's tail flapping in the spring sunlight

a thought is a hound
and its soft mouth poaches, for trophies,
another man's game
another man's meat

[previously published in the journal SHARP!, port elizabeth, 2005]

MY LOVE IS TRYING

[for francois]

my love is trying
to keep up with you
four minutes
and two
seconds

ago i thought
i had you...

these are the days
of the toothed mango-eaters
of bronze busts
at silver portsides
and egrets
oracling among
the dew-heavy figs

(steak steaming fresh
off the golden calf)

and my love is testing
the solid waters
of your long and arctic isle

 
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This work by Robert Edward Bolton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 South Africa License